Australia-China Chamber of Commerce and Industry
of New South Wales







The Code of Judicial Ethics
for Judges of the People's Republic of China


Convergence and the Judicial Role:
Recent Developments in China


The Honourable J J Spigelman AC
Chief Justice of New South Wales

Posted to Web Site:  16 July 2002



Chapter 1: Safeguard Judicial Impartiality
Chapter 2: Enhance Judicial Efficiency
Chapter 3: Keep Honest and Clean
Chapter 4: Observation of Judicial Decorum
Chapter 5: Enhance Self-Cultivation
Chapter 6: Limitation of Extra-Judicial Activities
Supplementary Provisions


To train a group of high-quality judges with firm political position, professional conversance, good conduct and honesty is an important condition for the rule of law and the construction of a socialist country ruled by law and is also an important safeguard for the people's court to implement the Constitution and exercise judicial functions.

The high standard judicial ethics of judges is very important to ensure judicial impartiality and to protect the authority and dignity of the Judiciary.

This code is enacted in accordance with the Judges Law of the People's Republic of China and other relevant regulations to regulate and improve the standard of judicial ethics for judges, to enhance the professional quality of judges and maintain the good image of judges and the people's court.

Chapter 1:

Safeguard Judicial Impartiality

Article 1.  A judge should strive to achieve substantial impartiality and procedural impartiality in performing his duties. A judge should appear to be impartial through his words and conduct so as to avoid any reasonable doubt from the public upon judicial impartiality.

Article 2.  A judge should perform his duties in accordance with the Constitution and other laws and on the principle of judicial independence. A judge should perform his duties with no interference from administrative departments, social organisations or individuals and no influence other than the influence from laws.

Article 3.  During the trial process the judge shall abide by recusation principle.  A judge shall disqualify himself mi a lawsuit in which the judge's impartiality might reasonably be questioned.

Article 4.  A judge should resist the influence from the parties, attorney, defendants and other people or through their social contacts and should handle the situation according to relevant regulations

Article 5.  A judge should not, against the will of the parties, use improper means to force the parties to withdraw the proceeding or accept mediation.

Article 6.  A judge should make all the judgements openly and objectively and accept the supervision from the public. This proscription does not extend to the cases cannot be opened or cannot have an open trial according to law.

Article 7.  During the process of a lawsuit, a Judge should reason and adjudicate independently and insist the right opinion.

Article 8.  During the process of a lawsuit, a Judge should not meet one party or his or her agent without authorisation.

Article 9.  A judge should avoid prejudice, misuse of his function and neglect of law in performing his duties.

Article 10.  A judge should treat all the parties and participants of the proceeding equally in performing his duties.  The judge should not by words or conduct manifest any discrimination. The judge has the responsibility to stop and correct any discriminatory words or conduct by any participants or other people.

A judge should be fully aware of the possible differences may arise from nationality, race, sex, profession, religion, education level, health, residence and other factors and shall safeguard the equally and fully implementation of the litigation right and other rights of all the parties.

Article 11.  A judge should be neutral during the trial.  Before the judgment is rendered, a judge should not express his views or attitude towards the judgement through his words, expression or conduct.

A judge should adjudicate according to law and be careful with his words and conduct during the proceedings so as to avoid any reasonable doubts upon his neutrality from the parties and other participants.

Article 12.  A judge should specify the reasons for the measures and judgement relating to the substantial rights and litigating right of the parties. A judge should not make a conclusion or take any measures subjectively and unilaterally.

Article 13.  A judge should respect the right of other judges to perform their duties independently and:

(1) should not give any comments on the lawsuits being handled by other court or give any suggestions or opinions on a lawsuit in which he has personal interests. This proscription does not extend to the situation when the judge is exercising his judicial duties or is giving comments or suggestions through proper procedures,

(2) should not ask about or interfere in the lawsuits being handled by the subordinate courts without authorisation.

(3) should not issue his personal views to the superior courts about the second instance cases.

Article 14.  A judge should not ask for information about the lawsuits being handled by other judges unless he is performing adjudicative or administrative duties.

A judge should not disclose or provide information about a lawsuit, the ways to contact the judge in charge or other related information to the parties, attorney and defendants. A judge should not introduce or contact the judge in charge for the parties, attorney and defendants.

Article 15.  A judge should avoid improper influence from the media or the public during the process of the lawsuit.

Article 16.  A judge should refrain from giving any comments in public or to the media, which is detrimental to the seriousness and authority of a valid judgement. If a judge thinks there is something wrong with a valid judgement or the trial process, he may report to the president of the court or report to the relevant courts.

Article 17.  A judge having definite evidence to believe other Judges may, or have already violated the professional ethics of judges, or other judiciary personnel may or have already violated their professional ethics and these conduct may influence the Judicial impartiality should take appropriate measures or inform the relevant authorities.

Chapter 2:

Enhance Judicial Efficiency

Article 18.  A judge should be diligent and devoted to the performance of his duties. A judge's personal matters, schedule or other activities should not conflict with his or her judicial duties.

Article 19.  A judge should abide by the time limit for lawsuit regulated by law and should accept the case, hear the proceeding and make judgement within the time limit.

Article 20.  A judge should avoid carelessness and delay without proper reason and dispose his business seriously, promptly and efficiently, and should:

(1) enhance efficiency through proper arrangements of judicial business.

(2) pay enough attention to the performance of all judicial duties and handle every case with same attention and carefulness and devote reasonably enough time.

(3) with the precondition of high quality of judgement, save time for the parties, attorney and defendants and pay attention to the efficient cooperation with other judges and staffs.

Article 21.  A judge should supervise the parties to abide by the procedures and respect all the time limits, so as to avoid unreasonable or unnecessary delay caused by the parties.

Article 22.  A judge should take effective measures to enforce the valid judgement as soon as possible.

Chapter 3:

Keep Honest and Clean

Article 23.  A judge is not allowed to use his capacities directly or indirectly to obtain any improper benefit.

Article 24.  A judge is not allowed to accept entertainment, money, gifts or other benefit from the parties, attorney and defendants.

Article 25.  A judge is not allowed to participate commercial or other economic activities which may lead the public to cast doubt on his image of being honest and clean.

Article 26.  A judge should handle his personal issues properly, and should not disclose his capacity as a judge intentionally for special treatment. A judge should not use the prestige and influence of a judge to seek personal interests for himself, his relatives or other people.

Article 27.  The life style and standard of a judge and his family should consist with their position and income.

Article 28.  A judge cannot act as a lawyer or Judicial advisor for enterprises, organisations or individuals at the same time. A judge is not allowed to provide advice or Judicial suggestion on pending cases to the parties, attorney and defendants.

Article 29.  A judge should report his income and property according to relevant regulations.

Article 30.  A judge should inform his family members about the requirements for a judge mi judicial conduct and professional ethics and urge his family members not to violate relevant regulations.

Chapter 4:

Observation of Judicial Decorum

Article 31.  A judge should strictly observe the Judicial decorum and keep good appearance and conduct, so as to preserve the authority of the people's court and the good image of the judge.

Article 32.  A judge should respect the human dignity of the parties and other participants, and should:

(1) hear the parties and other participants carefully and patiently and should not interrupt or stop a party or other participants unless for the reason of protecting the order of the court or because of the requirement of a trial.

(2) use standard, correct and civilized language and should not admonish or say improper words to the parties or other participants.

Article 33.  A judge should comply with the rules of the court during the trial and should require all the staff of that court to do so and maintain the dignity of the court, and should:

(1) wear robe or uniform according to relevant regulations, wear badge and keep clean and tidy;

(2) appear to the court on time, do not be absent or late and do not leave early or enter or leave the court at his pleases;

(3) concentrate on the lawsuit and the hearing, do nothing irrelevant with the lawsuit.

Chapter 5:

Enhance Self-Cultivation

Article 34. A judge should enhance his professionalism and should have high political and professional quality. A judge should implement the Constitution and laws faithfully and serve the people whole-heartedly.

Article 35. A judge should have rich social experience and profound understanding to the social reality.

Article 36. A judge has the right and obligation to be trained and educated and should study the judicial theory and absorb new knowledge diligently so as to improve his abilities and skills of controlling a trial, deciding evidences and writing Judicial documents. A Judge should possess the necessary knowledge and professional ability to perform his function.

Article 37. A judge should be self-disciplinary and without impropriety at his daily life.  A judge should cultivate a high standard moral criterion and act as a model of observing public and family virtues.

Chapter 6:

Limitation of Extra-Judicial Activities

Article 38.  The extra‑judicial activities of a judge should cause no reasonable doubt of the public upon his impartiality and honesty, should not affect the performance of his functions and should not cause negative impact on the trustworthiness of the people's court.

Article 39.  A judge should refuse and stop any hobby or conduct which is against the public interest, public order, social virtue and customs and may influence the image of judge and his impartiality.

Article 40.  A judge should be careful in making social contacts and friends.  A judge should carefully handle the contacts with the parties, lawyers and other persons who are possible to influence the image of the judge, so as to avoid the impression of public that the judge is not impartial or not honest and avoid the possible confusion and embarrassment in the performance of his functions.

Article 41.  A judge should not join any organisation with a nature of evil religion.

Article 42.  A judge should not disclose or use the judicial information of a close trial or business secret, personal privacy and other confidential information acquired during the process of a lawsuit.

Article 43.  A judge should not join any profit-making organisation or any organisation may make profit by using the influence of the judge.

Article 44.  A judge may participate in academic research and other social activities which are helpful in promoting judicial construction and judicial reform. However, these activities should be in compliance with the law, construct no obstruction to Judicial impartiality and the preservation of judicial authority and will not conflict with the judge's judicial function.

Article 45.  A judge should be cautious in publishing a paper or interview with the media. The judge should not issue any improper comments on specific lawsuits or parties so as to avoid reasonable doubt upon judicial impartiality caused by improper wording.

Article 46.  After retirement, a judge should continue to maintain a good image and should avoid the reasonable doubt of the public upon judicial impartiality caused by his improper words or conduct.


Supplementary Provisions

Article 47.  The courts at different levels should provide guidance and exercise supervision in the implementation of this code in their own court.

Article 48.  The jurors shall be administered by this code when they are exercising judicial function. The administrative personnel and judicial police shall be administered with reference to the relevant provisions of this code.

Article 49.  The Supreme Court will be responsible for the explanation of this code.

Article 50.  This code shall come into force as of the date of issue [18 October 2001].


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